Al Ain: UAE striker Ahmad Khalil finally joined Al Ain on a free transfer, a week after his initial move from Al Jazira fell through, the club confirmed on Monday.
The 26-year-old had been subject of a failed loan move from Al Jazira to Al Ain on transfer deadline day last Monday, however the deal couldn’t be registered due to a salary cap.
This has now been circumvented with Khalil buying out the remainder of his Al Jazira contract and joining Al Ain on a free.
“I thank Al Jazira for facilitating the move and have big ambitions in the coming phase to write new lines in my career with The Boss, harvesting more achievements and trophies both locally and on the continent,” Khalil was quoted as saying via the club’s official twitter feed.
“My hardest moments came in the hours when I was informed of an incomplete registration due to a salary cap. When I got to Al Ain I never thought of financial matters as much as my focus on exclusively achieving the highest level of readiness to enter a new challenge.
“I have a great desire and know well the value and prestige of the club. I’m certainly very proud to play for the biggest club in the country. Al Ain’s fans reinforced my desire to join and I ask for God’s help for me and my team to delight them.
“I didn’t expect this but I now defend Al Ain and play alongside my colleagues who also represent 80 per cent of the UAE national team,” he said of joining the likes of UAE teammates Omar Abdul Rahman and Mohanad Salem.
Khalil was desperate to get away from Al Jazira where he had spent a miserable six months. Injuries and a pay dispute led to him only making two appearances playing for a combined 27 minutes, since joining from Al Ahli over the summer.
He will now look to get back to the form that saw him win Asian Player of the Year in 2015 when Al Ahli — with whom he won three league titles — were losing finalists in the Asian Champions League.
Khalil was also part of the UAE team that qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 2012 and won the 2013 Gulf Cup before finishing third in the 2015 Asian Cup. Despite not playing for Al Jazira, he proved his fitness in the Gulf Cup earlier this month where the UAE lost the final on penalties to Oman.
Record 12-time winners Al Ain are currently top of the Arabian Gulf League, while defending champions Al Jazira are languishing in fifth position.